For a man who has led a high-profile life in the fast lane, Nicholas Tse has developed a strong dislike for the media spotlight. The son of movie star Patrick Tse Yin and screen starlet Deborah Li, Tse was exposed to a barrage of flash bulbs from an early age and insists it was something he always loathed. He once told a reporter: 'Fame was something I hated because it wasn't my choice to end up on magazine covers.' He added that from three months' old he had had to appear in Lunar New Year photos until his mother hit him at the age of 13 because he was not smiling. He ran away that day, and said he did not have to appear in any more pictures. After two years in Vancouver, Tse returned to Hong Kong in 1995 when, as a 15-year-old, he seemed reconciled to taking up where he left off - back in the limelight. After signing a 10-year contract with tycoon Albert Yeung Sau-sing's Emperor Entertainment Group, the prodigy emerged as Hong Kong's answer to James Dean. Always portrayed as the bad boy in Hong Kong Chinese-language papers, Tse has a history of smoking heavily, swearing at reporters and badmouthing the Canto-pop scene. He also capitalised on playing the rebel in most of his films. He once explained: 'What I did was really minor stuff. But in Hong Kong they don't ask you why you do it. They will judge that you're throwing a spaz, you're mad, you're crazy, not because it's wrong but because they've never seen it before.' Tse's love life, too, has cast him at the centre of frenzied media attention. In the run-up to the car crash that landed him in court, his relationship with pop diva Faye Wong, 11 years his senior, was rumoured to be on the rocks because of his friendship with up-and-coming pop starlet Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi. During his court case, family friends - including movie stars Jackie Chan and Liza Wang Ming-chun - were quick to offer reference letters portraying the more sensitive side of the young star. And that sensitive side was bizarrely demonstrated by Tse's failed attempt to take his dead pet hedgehog, in a cardboard coffin, into court on September 23. Chan had said: 'Being constantly in the limelight myself, I can deeply understand the pressure he was put under.'